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My Work is Inspired By My Love of Animals

Author Interview
Author Interview Anil

Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories: Zoo Two is a book of not just poetry but fascinating facts about animals. What was the inspiration for this children’s book?

It’s my second book of Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories. Both were inspired by my love of animals, being a retired zoologist, coupled with my love of word play and constrained writing. The restraint here is the use of terse single rhymes per poem, which I call universes. I then enjoy adding silly stories and nonsense, plus some biology, to the poems.

I don’t specialise in children’s books. My other three books are not for kids, too difficult or too ‘adult’.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Kalpart?

Kalpa Joshi, the head artist for Kalpart, lives in Mumbai. All the artwork was provided by email, in response to my written descriptions of the ideas I visualized. She was very cooperative and allowed me to seek revisions of her initial sketches, which she then had her team convert to the final coloured images, again generously allowing me revisions. Although mostly all my own ideas, she often made good suggestions.

I really liked the poems Racial Harmony and Wake up, Sleepyhead. What is your favorite poem in this collection?

My favourite is Ape and Wolf in Concert. That’s not for literary reason but because I’m an avid supporter of Friends of Bonobos, the orphan bonobo sanctuary and rehabilitation and release sites in DRCongo.

Their social media sites presented a longer version of this poem a few years ago. It’s also my favourite illustration in the book.

Judged purely on literary grounds I don’t really have a favourite but am especially pleased with ANOLE, BORZOI, CANARY, MONKEYS and the 1st PLOVER.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have another book of silly animal rhymes (without added stories) in production at Olympia Publishers (UK), my first book to be accepted by a traditional publisher. It’s entitled 101 Animal Universes and includes 25 repeats from the two kids’ book. It also contains a few adult rhymes so is not a kids’ book except with parental discretion. It should be out later this year, I’d guess within three months.

The next book I am working on (basically finished and awaiting some b&w illustrations from Kalpart) is another exercise in constrained writing. This time it uses Spoonerisms around which to weave silly to serious stories and essays, many for adults only. It’s entitled Haywire Way Higher: Spoonerism Couplets, Stories, Essays. If I cannot find a traditional publisher I’ll again self-publish with SBPRA, the publishers of my other four recent books. I hope to see it published later this year or in 2023.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

Here are just a few of the Animal Rhyme stories inside:
ANOLE LIZARD becomes a Pig.
BORZOI Puppy is a riot.
CHINCHILLA has a Pet GORILLA.
GNUS steal shoes!
MOA didn’t make it to Noah’s Ark.
TORTOISE dreams of being a Ninja athlete.
WHALE ‘drops out’ and regrets it.
ZINGEL FISH meets Santa in my dreams.

Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories: Zoo Two

Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories: Zoo Two is a collection of animal-themed rhymes aimed at children. With a diverse vocabulary and introducing animals that are popular, as well as those who are hardly known to any, Anil conveys a message that is bound to raise nature lovers and animal protectors. In this enchanting book, young readers will meet Ross the Albatross, a love triangle between species, ants that face a grim demise, and other unexpected companions.

Two personal favorites of mine were Racial Harmony, and Wake Up, Sleepyhead. Racial Harmony features a cow and a sow that share their meals in the Taoist communion concept of ‘Tao.’ Wake Up, Sleepyhead, is about a sea snail Periwinkle, constantly tired and sleepy, is warned by the author not to let sloth get the better of them, lest they face the same fear as Rip Van Winkle.

Anil beautifully mixes child-friendly themes with more in-depth zoological knowledge which students from elementary to high school can enjoy. This approach transcends the narrow audience of most children’s books. Examples of concepts introduced in this book are those of metazoa, protozoa, and extinct animals. The author starts out each section with a cute poem, with only one rhyming sound per poem. After the poem, there is detailed biological information that is fascinating and not the kind of information you expect to find in a children’s book. This is a wonderful book for opening discussions with children and encouraging the desire to dive into the sciences. Combined with the brilliant and detailed illustrations by Kalpart, this magical book will entertain the entire family.

Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories: Zoo Two is a poetry picture book written for children but can be loved by all. This children’s book is not just poetry, but fun science facts and information that will appeal to older readers making this a book that can be loved and read for many years.

Pages: 95 | ASIN : B09NJP9XV3

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The Inevitable Ambiguity of Words

Author Interview
Anil Author Interview

Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology uses a unique brand of humor to show readers how fun etymology can be. What inspired you to start this series of books?

I am primarily a wordplay writer and have published over 200 articles of assorted styles of word play in the online journal Word Ways, not all humorous. Within the general category of word play, my favourite type is constrained writing of various ilks. My two Strange Bedfellows books use the constraint of using only words that are etymologically related to construct fun phrases and sentences. I then embellish them with my own weird sense of humour in explaining or more often simply extending the SB thoughts to a more free form of humorous expositions and stories.

The idea of using pools of etymologically related words as a type of constrained writing came to me when I noted, in Eric Partridge’s wonderful etymology dictionary Origins, what a huge number of interesting words are surprisingly ultimately related to ‘legend’. From there I devoured Origins looking for other pools of relatives offering interesting combinations. I collected many and managed two volumes of the constructions from them as skeletons on which to overlay my personal style of humour and nonsense. The latter is heavily influenced by the writings of Will Cuppy as well as Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl, James Thurber, Ogden Nash, Dr. Seuss, Edward Lear and others.

What is the collaboration process like between you and the illustrator, Kalpart?

Kalpart is the company name of a commercial art collaboration headed by Kalpa Joshi. For my books, I describe to her the images I visualise and she is very compliant in revising her first efforts to capture them until they meet my wishes. Other of her artists usually do the final coloured illustrations. I couldn’t ask for a more cooperative artist. She does, however, often make suggestions that I like and let her use.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

Joy! Plus a sense of the inevitable ambiguity of words, phrases and sentence that allow puns and other twists to amuse and/or expand the reader’s perspectives. (Oops, that two things!)

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have two upcoming books, both being sequels to my Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories A to Z (‘SAR1′, 2018), profusely illustrated in colour by Kalpart. They use a different type of constrained writing, monorhyme verses on animal themes, which I call animal uni-verses.

  • 101 Animal Universes, unillustrated and with limited prose addenda, finished and seeking a publisher as a ‘pure’ poetry book. Hence the release date is unknown. It includes some of the best verses from SAR1 and the following (SAR2) plus many more mostly new universes.
  • Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories: Zoo Two, in press, text approved and awaiting the rest of Kalpart’s brilliant illustrations, half finished. It should be finished and released in 2-4 months but possibly longer. This and my three recent books are self-published by SBPRA, the fifth (101AU) hoping to find a regular publisher, but failing that, again to use SBPRA.

I also have three other books firmly in mind, all partly written, the second two illustrated:

  • a short small book of embellished Spoonerisms;
  • a commercial satire Dr. Duck’s Dealy Deli based around an enterprise and characters that clutter the pages of my other five books; and
  • a rewrite of an old self-illustrated volume from 1979, Anno Dodo, a humorous satire cum word play on the theme of extinction.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Etymologically related words, most surprisingly so (strange bedfellows), are used to construct amusing and/or amazing pairs, phrases and whole sentences, mostly accompanied by silly or satirical comments, tall tales with recurring characters, poems, fake news and fake ads for Dr. Duck’s Dealy Deli. An appendix gives many other pairs of surprisingly related synonyms, antonyms, etc., balanced by the converse – pairs one might expect to be related but are not.

Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology

Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology by [Anil]

Books open up the world to us–this is something we have all known since we were children in a kindergarten classroom. That’s the place where words began to show us their power–and their many, many meanings. Some of us have gone on to love words and the beauty of multiple meanings. Anil has handed us all the most wonderful gift a lover of words could ever want — Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology. Between its pages, this fun little read brings the smiles and laughter we could all use during these stressful times.

What reads like a most prolific assortment of random thoughts turns into quite a stunning opportunity for readers to visualize amazing literary images. I think I most appreciate the lack of organization to the text and the freedom to pass from one odd thought to another. Anil’s work is a superb thrill ride encapsulated in just under seventy pages.

I am giving Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology, by Anil and illustrated by Kalpart, 5 out of 5 stars. Readers looking to relax and thoroughly enjoy etymology for its own sake will appreciate every rambling thought so eloquently sketched by this author/illustrator pairing. I highly recommend Anil’s delightful book to anyone who appreciates humor on a higher plane and truly “gets the joke.”

Pages: 72 | ASIN: B085LFBGMS

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Strange Bedfellows Vol. C: More Fun with Etymology

Do you love words? I mean really love them? Is etymology your cup of proverbial tea? Strange Bedfellows Vol. C: More Fun with Etymology will bring you the sheer joy you never knew you were missing. The brain child of Anil and illustrator, Kalpart, Strange Bedfellows contains a delightful compilation of super short stories alongside a humorous collection of word play. Page after page, Anil and Kalpart surprise readers with their unique brand of word play. Definitely designed for lovers of all things written, Strange Bedfellows is almost a genre all its own.

I have to admit that Anil and Kalapart give reading a whole new meaning. Nowhere else will you find an author putting the reader to work while simultaneously providing so much entertainment and satisfaction. From the outset, Strange Bedfellows is a workout for the brain as much as it is a lighthearted look into the mind of a true logophile.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, especially where words are concerned, I thoroughly enjoyed Anil and Kalpart’s work. I can honestly say I have never come across anything like Strange Bedfellows. While it’s a quick read, it’s a demandfing one. Readers who want a subtle storyline fraught with word play and a delightful curiosity on every page will revel in this work of scholarly art.

I highly recommend Anil and Kalpart’s compilation of what seems, at first, like the ramblings of a genius. Word nerds will appreciate each and every glorious word of Anil’s brand of literary whimsy. Strange Bedfellows Vol. C: More Fun with Etymology is a must read for any true bookworm.

Pages: 70 | ASIN: B085LFBGMS

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